By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18 a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to U.S. and U.S. supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the U.S. are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American ‘show of force’. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all U.S. actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.
Andrew McCabe has long been a controversial figure at the FBI. His position as Deputy Director of the FBI came under intense scrutiny during the Clinton email investigation after it came to light that his wife, Jill McCabe, took nearly $500,000 from Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe to fund her Senate campaign. Of course, Terry McAuliffe is a long-time confidant of the Clinton family and was rumored as a potential running mate for Hillary. But sure, no reason to be wary the McCabe was put in charge of supervising that particular investigation. But now, at least according to a new report from Circa, McCabe may have other conflicts, including a personal vendetta against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, that have not yet been disclosed. According to Circa, Flynn apparently enraged McCabe a few years back after he intervened on behalf of an FBI Special Agent, Robyn Gritz, who had accused McCabe and other top FBI officials of sexual discrimination. The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews. Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 26, 2017.
Vanessa Beeley says… An appalling crime was committed by a member of the UK, US, EU and Gulf state multi-million-funded White Helmets on the 21st June 2017, one week after the Grenfell Tower tragedy shocked London to the core. The White Helmet operative in question was filmed climbing over the dismembered corpses of murdered Syrian Arab Army soldiers while the severed head of one of the soldiers was held aloft as a gruesome trophy by the extremist fighters responsible for their deaths. The White Helmet operative has been ‘sacked’ according to the statement released by the organisation. He has been ‘sacked’ for breaching the White Helmet ‘code of ethics’. So these days, participating in the murder of prisoners of war, the mutilation of their bodies and the dumping of those bodies into a waste tip is a ‘sackable offence’? Dont we all feel so reassured that terrorist acts that violate every, single Geneva convention on the treatment of POWs and constitue supreme crimes against humanity, are a ‘sackable’ offence. Dont we all feel relieved that this White Helmet’s wrist has been slapped and his T Shirt taken away from him? If we have a single human bone in our body, no we dont!
As on a calm, still morning, the landscape of Syria is gradually emerging from the shadow. Everywhere, the advances of the Syrian Arab Army have reconquered thousands of square kilometres of territory in East Aleppo, Homs and Damascus. The army is on the verge of retaking full control of the Syria-Jordan and Syria-Iraq borders, traditional rat runs for the foreign mercenaries intent on destroying the cradle of civilisation for a fistful of petrodollars. Restoring the sovereignty of the Syrian state on its national soil, this courageous army of conscripts, inflict shame upon all those who dreamed of destroying this recalcitrant state, upon all those who wanted to dismember Syria because it dared to foil their neocolonialist plot.
Before the Grenfell Tower blaze had died down to a smouldering monument to the tragic death of possibly hundreds of, so far, unidentified victims, trapped in the molten edifice, Channel 4 produced a programme showcasing the Al Qaeda affiliated White Helmets, holding up banners in ‘solidarity’ with the London firefighters tackling the inferno of Grenfell Tower. With no regard for the ever-mounting evidence, exposing the White Helmets as Al Qaeda co-workers and enablers in Syria, Channel 4 once again promoted this group of NATO and Gulf state funded criminals, as heroes. The genuine firefighters in London should be insulted that their own valiant efforts are compared or conflated with a fraudulent group of terrorists and petty criminals who campaign for war to ensure further bloodshed in Syria. The White Helmet ‘team in Daraa’, being universally marketed by corporate media was filmed cheering and mopping up after an Islamic extremist execution in Daraa, on the 16th May 2017, so almost one month before the Grenfell Tower tragedy.
A US F-15E fighter jet shot down a Syrian regime drone on Monday near At Tanf, Syria, the third downing of a pro-regime aircraft this month, CNN reported. The downing of the drone comes a day after a US jet shot down a regime aircraft that was engaging a fleeing ISIS convoy, according to the Syrian government. An armed Shaheed-129 UAV ‘displayed hostile intent and advanced on Coalition forces’ at 12:30 am local time on Tuesday, the coalition said in a statement. The drone was observed in the same area where another UAV was shot down on June 8.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 20, 2017.
Technology is a major foundation of national power. Its uses are obvious. But the path from innovation to obsolescence is frequently less obvious. Technologies that define an era usually come from a major geopolitical power. Roman engineering, for example, helped shape the Mediterranean world. British technology created and sustained the industrial revolution. These empires could absorb the cost of innovation because they had the money to do so and because they knew it would only reinforce their power. And because technologies are meant to reinforce power, even the most benign were invented for military purposes. The Origins of the iPhone Consider the iPhone, an invention of Apple, the genius of Steve Jobs, and a helpful, hip, and harmless product. Or so it would seem. The centerpiece of the iPhone, as is the case with so many electronics today, is the microprocessor. The microprocessor was the fruit of the labor of a variety of scientists and engineers who were sponsored by the US government, which needed a lightweight computer for missiles, aircraft, and other systems. The technology quickly found use in the F-14 fighter aircraft, intercontinental ballistic missiles, and submarine-launched nuclear missiles. Fast forward to 1985. General Dynamics, known at the time as GTE, helped the US Army create an advanced network for a device invented some 12 years earlier. The device was the cellphone, which would face its first true test in Operation Desert Storm. The Army needed a reliable wireless communications system that could be easily deployed, and the cellphone fit the bill.
The US’ deployment of the HIMARS missile system to eastern Syria is designed to deter the Syrian Arab Army’s Dash for Deir az-Zor. Many people were caught off guard when the Russian Defense Ministry announced earlier this week that ‘The US has redeployed two High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems from Jordan to a US special operations forces base near the Syrian town of Al-Tanf’, and that ‘the range of HIMARS cannot allow for providing support for US-controlled Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) operating against Daesh in Raqqa’. This led to the logical conclusion that the HIMARS could be used by the US to strike Syrian Arab Army (SAA) forces, just as the Pentagon’s developed a habit of doing several times already since April. To put this all into context, the SAA just broke through some of Daesh’s occupied territory to reach the Iraqi border, thereby cutting off the US’ special forces and allied ‘rebel’ forces in Al-Tanf from linking up with the majority-Kurdish ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ (SDF) laying siege to Raqqa right now and committing ethnic cleansing there. Moreover, this development prevents the US-backed forces from driving through the desert to Deir az-Zor, the last major Daesh-occupied city in eastern Syria and the location of a small encircled SAA contingent. The ‘Dash for Deir az-Zor’ is becoming the new ‘Race for Raqqa’ now that the latter is all but over, as the former will decide whether or not the entirety of eastern Syria falls under pro-American proxy control or not.
21st Century Wire says… Yesterday a US F/A-18E Super Hornet is reported to have shot down a Syrian Army SU-22 jet near the village of Rasafah, south of Raqqa. Washington claims it was an act of ‘collective self-defense’ because the Syrian jet had dropped bombs ‘near US-backed forces.’ Syrian officials in Damascus deny the US claims, stating that their plane was downed while conducting a strike on an ISIS position. According to a statement released by Damascus, the US act of aggression in Syria airspace was a ‘flagrant attack was an attempt to undermine the efforts of the army as the only effective force capable with its allies… in fighting terrorism across its territory.’ Officials added that, ‘this comes at a time when the Syrian army and its allies were making clear advances in fighting the (ISIS) terrorist group.’ US officials are claiming that ‘pro-Syrian regime forces’ on the ground attacked the US-backed Kurdish militias under the ‘SDF’ brand (Syrian Democratic Forces) near Tabqa outside Raqqa, after which time the US-led Coalition planes engaged Syrian military. US officials then claim that a Syrian planes ‘dropped bombs near the US-backed forces.’ Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov issue this statement: ‘We call on the United State and all others who have their forces or advisors on the ground [in Syria] to ensure the coordination in our work. Zones of de-escalation are one of the possible options to jointly move forward. We call on everyone to avoid unilateral moves, respect Syrian sovereignty and join our common work which is agreed with the Syrian Arab Republic’s government.’
Karl Marx famously said that history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. The only difference between the Afghan jihad back in the ’80s that spawned Islamic jihadists like the Taliban and al Qaeda for the first time in history and the Libyan and Syrian civil wars, 2011-onward, is that the Afghan jihad was an overt jihad: back then, the Western political establishments and their mouthpiece, the mainstream media, used to openly brag that the CIA provides all those AK-47s, RPGs and stingers to the Afghan so-called ‘freedom fighters’ to combat the Soviet troops in Afghanistan. After the 9/11 tragedy, however, the Western political establishments and corporate media have become a lot more circumspect, therefore this time around, they have waged covert jihads against the Arab-nationalist Gaddafi regime in Libya and the anti-Zionist Assad regime in Syria, in which Islamic jihadists (aka terrorists) have been sold as ‘moderate rebels’ with secular and nationalist ambitions to the Western audience. Since the regime change objective in those hapless countries went against the mainstream narrative of ostensibly fighting a war against terrorism, therefore the Western political establishments and the corporate media are now trying to muddle the reality by offering color-coded schemes to identify myriads of militant and terrorist outfits that are operating in Syria: such as the red militants of the Islamic State and al-Nusra Front, which the Western powers want to eliminate; the yellow Islamic jihadists, like Jaysh al-Islam and Ahrar al-Sham, with whom the Western powers can collaborate under desperate circumstances; and the green militants of the Free Syria Army (FSA) and a few other inconsequential outfits, which together comprise the so-called ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition. If we were to draw parallels between the Soviet-Afghan jihad of the ’80s and the Syrian civil war of today, the Western powers used the training camps located in the Af-Pak border regions to train and arm Afghan ‘Mujahideen’ against the Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
Last summer, when the Syrian conflict was near its peak under the Obama administration, China unexpectedly warned it was ready to enter the proxy war when in a stunning announcement, Xinhua reported that Beijing was prepared to side with Syria and Russia, against the US-led alliance, and that Xi and Assad had agreed that the Chinese military will have closer ties with Syria and provide humanitarian aid to the civil war torn nation. A high-ranking People’s Liberation Army officer also said that the training of Syrian personnel by Chinese instructors has also been discussed: the Director of the Office for International Military Cooperation of China’s Central Military Commission, Guan Youfei, arrived in Damascus on Tuesday for talks with Syrian Defense Minister Fahad Jassim al-Freij, Xinhua added. Guan said China had consistently played a positive role in pushing for a political resolution in Syria. “China and Syria’s militaries have a traditionally friendly relationship, and China’s military is willing to keep strengthening exchanges and cooperation with Syria’s military,” Xinhua quoted Guan. Then last month, as the lingering Syrian proxy war dragged on, we reported that Moscow was hoping “for China’s help in solving the Syrian crisis and restoring the country.” As Russia’s deputy foreign minister Igor Morgulov said on May 29, “our cooperation with China on Syria at various international venues is unprecedented. We blocked six attempts to pass anti-Syrian resolutions in the U. N. Security Council,” Morgulov said at “Russia and China: Taking on a New Quality of Bilateral Relations” international conference adding that “together we call for a peaceful and political-diplomatic solution to conflicts, without double standards, unilateral action or attempts at ousting regimes. Our approaches coincide, among other things, on the uncompromising fight against terrorism.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 18, 2017.
Several US soldiers were wounded on Saturday after being shot by an Afghan soldier at a base in northern Afghanistan on Saturday, the third ‘insider’ attack on US troops stationed in the country this year, and the second on one week. Initially conflicting reports emerged about the number of casualties in the attack, with Afghan officials telling Reuters that four US troops had been killed; that number has since been revised. Here’s Reuters: A spokesman for the U. S. military command in Kabul denied earlier comments by an Afghan official that Americans had been killed, but confirmed that an unspecified number of soldiers had been wounded at Camp Shaheen, the headquarters of the Afghan army’s 209th Corps in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif. At least one Afghan soldier was killed and another wounded, the U. S. official said. Abdul Qahar Araam, spokesman for the Afghan army’s 209th Corps, had announced that an Afghan soldier shot and killed four U. S. troops inside the base. The German military heads the multinational advising mission based in Mazar-i-Sharif. A spokeswoman for the German forces at the joint mission command in Potsdam said “according to what we know right now, no Germans were affected”. On June 11, three U. S. soldiers were killed and a fourth wounded when an Afghan soldier opened fire on them at a base in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province. As of yet, no group has taken credit for Saturday’s attack. The Taliban took credit for a similar attack that unfolded a week ago in Eastern Afghanistan that left three US troops dead and one wounded.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 17, 2017.
21st Century Wire says… In southeastern Syria, the region around al-Tanf has quickly become a focal point for the ongoing conflict in the region. Near to both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, al-Tanf is currently the location of a contingent of US-led coalition forces, supposedly there for the purpose of providing training to ‘anti-ISIS’ militias, but also anti-Assad militias too – the fabled ‘moderate rebels’. Not surprisingly, the US-led coalition has unilaterally imposed a self-styled ‘deconfliction zone’ around their camp in al-Tanf and claim to be defending their position from ‘pro-Syrian forces’, otherwise known as the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) and allied militias. It has been reported by mainstream media outlets that coalition members represented at al-Tanf include not only the United States but also the British SAS, and also possibly Norway too. Although coalition forces are also present in other parts of Syria, including the area around Raqqa, an ISIS stronghold, the last few weeks have seen coalition forces striking Syrian military targets on at least three occasions near the coalition training camp close to al-Tanf – including incidents on May 18th, June 6th and June 8th. It is now being reported that the US is supplying ‘truck-mounted long range missiles’ to its forces near al-Tanf, in a move that risks immediate escalation in the already-tense situation, and despite diplomatic efforts by Russia to calm the situation. All this comes as the US and its Kurdish proxy militia, the SDF, mount there attack on the ISIS stronghold Raqqa in Northeast Syria. The US have also seized the opportunity to invade more Syrian territory after an alleged sarin gas attack on April 4th that prompted President Trump to launch a missile strike on a Syrian airbase in retaliation. In the following segment film two weeks ago, 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen speaks to RT International about the recent US strike on Syrian forces near Al Tanf. Henningsen explains how the US are taking advantage of the tension to secure its own territory inside of Syria:
Federal Judge James Boasberg ruled in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe yesterday (June 14), handing the tribe its first legal victory in its battle against the Dakota Access pipeline. Well, sort of… You see, Boasberg did not order Dakota Access to cease operations, which have been underway for close to two weeks. However, the judge did order the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers to repeat the rigorous Environment Impact Statements (EIS) study, saying that the Corps failed to perform an adequate study the first time around. In a 91-page decision, the judge cited the Corps’ study of ‘the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice’ as particularly deficient. ‘Even though a spill is not certain to occur at Lake Oahe, the Corps still had to consider the impacts of such an event on the environment,’ the judge said.
In a stunning turn of events in favor of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, a federal judge ruled Wednesday certain aspects of the approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline – which now crosses under the Missouri River’s Lake Oahe reservoir, source of the Tribe’s drinking water – violated the law. ‘This decision marks an important turning point. Until now, the rights of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have been disregarded by the builders of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Trump administration – prompting a well-deserved global outcry,’ stated Jan Hasselman, Earthjustice attorney and lead counsel in the lawsuit. Left undetermined in the ruling is whether pipeline operations must be shut down – but the judge requested additional briefing and a status conference is slated to take place next week. Earthjustice filed a lawsuit February 14 – after final approval swiftly came with the entre of President Trump and his administration – contending the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a permit allowing Energy Transfer Partners to construct Dakota Access near tribal boundaries and through Native American ancestral lands in violation of several environmental laws.
In what the Syrian Army General Command called a ‘turning point’ in the conflict, the Syrian army and allied forces reached the border with Iraq on Friday, where for the last several weeks they have attempted to link up with allied fighters in the neighboring country. ‘This achievement constitutes a strategic turning point in the war on terror and a base for expanding the military operation in the desert and across the borders with Iraq and to tighten the noose on what’s left of the IS terror groups,’ the General Command said in a statement. The statement also spoke of the risks of continued attacks by the U. S. and U. S.-trained rebels on Syrian military positions, warning they hinder advances against the Islamic State. On three separate occasions in the last 30 days, American warplanes struck Syrian-allied militias maneuvering near the border crossing in the town of al-Tanf. This time, the fighters avoided the U. S.-held area near the town and successfully reached the border with Iraq.
This is a developing story… Update: 1:20 p.m. The AP is now reporting that the Taliban have taken credit for the attack. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement that a Taliban loyalist had infiltrated the Afghan army “just to attack foreign forces.” A statement from the U. S. military said merely that the military was “aware of an incident in eastern Afghanistan.” White House spokesman Raj Shah told reporters traveling with the President Donald Trump in New Jersey that Trump was “following the emerging situation in Afghanistan.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 10, 2017.
One day after a pro-Assad military alliance threatened to strike US forces in Syria in retaliation for a US bombing of an Iran-backed militia operating in an allegedly “no-go zone” near a US garrison in southern Syria, near the town of At Tanf, the Syrians allegedly followed through on their promise, and according to Reuters, a pro-Syrian regime armed drone attacked U. S.-led coalition forces in Syria, for which it was promptly shot down in what the Pentagon dubbed “a major escalation of tensions between Washington and troops supporting Damascus.” The armed drone “hit dirt” and there were no injuries or damage done to the coalition patrol in southern Syria, but U. S. Army Colonel Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U. S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State, told reporters the drone meant to attack them and dismissed the possibility it had fired a warning shot. “This clearly showed a threat even if it were a warning shot; it was something that showed a hostile intent, a hostile action and posed a threat to our forces because this drone still had munitions that were still on it,” Dillon said and added that “it was the first known time that pro-Syrian government forces had fired at coalition forces in that region.”
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 8, 2017.
The crimes committed by the US forces by bombing units of the Syrian Arab Army that were advancing to liberate the Al-Tanf crossing on the border with Iraq, and before it in Al-Thardah Mountain in Deir Al-Zour, and then Al-Shaerat Airport were not random or coincidental. They were, as in the case of the war crimes committed by US aircrafts against the Syrian people and Syrian infrastructure, calculated, and are part of the general geopolitical scheme to divide the region. The truth is that any connection between Syria and Iraq has been forbidden since the two countries’ independence in the middle of the 20th century. The Baghdad Pact of 1955, which included Britain, Iraq, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan was meant contain the Arab national tide on the one hand, and to counter what then was called Soviet influence in the region on the other hand. Although this alliance fell in 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower declared a set principles in a private letter to Congress, which became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine. According to these principles, any country could request US economic aid or aid of the US armed forces if subjected to threats from another country. This was what Camille Chamoun did in 1958, when the nationalists in Lebanon rebelled to pursue the Arab national line and against Chamoun’s attempt to rig elections. Eisenhower responded to Chamoun’s request and sent the Marines to Beirut to preserve the ‘neutrality’ of Lebanon’s foreign policy, despite its ‘sympathy’ with Arab issues. After Sadat signed the Sinai 2 Agreement, and later the Camp David Accords, President Hafez al-Assad tried to compensate for the Arabs’ loss of Egypt by establishing a Levantine Front. He went to Iraq, Jordan and the Palestine Liberation Organization in Beirut.
One day after American warplanes bombed an Iranian-backed militia that allegedly entered a supposed no-go zone near a U. S garrison in southern Syria on Tuesday – its second such strike in three weeks – a military alliance fighting in support of President Bashar al-Assad said it could hit U. S. positions in Syria, warning that its “self-restraint” over U. S. air strikes on government forces would end if Washington crossed “red lines”, according to Reuters. The statement from the pro-Assad alliance was issued in the name of the “commander of the operations room of the forces allied to Syria”, and was circulated by a military news unit run by Hezbollah, one of Assad’s military allies in Lebanon. “America knows well that the blood of the sons of Syria, the Syrian Arab Army, and its allies is not cheap, and the capacity to strike their positions in Syria, and their surroundings, is available when circumstances will it,” the statement said, adding that such attacks could be carried out with “different missile and military systems, in the light of the deployment of American forces in the region”.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jun 7, 2017.